Jazz musicians Kamasi Washington, Esperanza Spalding and Arturo O’Farrill are among the many artists and public figures featured in an expansive new collection of 242 audio recordings inspired by birdsong.
Curated by Grammy-winning producer and music supervisor Randall Poster, For the Birds: The Birdsong Project spans five volumes and 20 albums, with original works by many leading names in music, film and literature.
The list of contributors features winners of Grammys, Oscars, Emmys, Pulitzers and Peabodys including Beck, Elvis Costello, the Flaming Lips, Jeff Tweedy, Karen O, Mark Ronson, Nick Cave, Yo-Yo Ma and many more.
The proceeds will be donated to the National Audubon Society, the world’s oldest environmental society dedicated to the conservation of birds and their habitats.
Poster came up with the project in early 2020, when the world’s unusual quiet led him to a new interest in birdsong.
Upon learning about dramatic declines in bird populations and how climate change and habitat loss threaten many of them with extinction, he and activist Rebecca Reagan came up with the idea for a collection of original compositions inspired by birdsong in support of bird conservation.
“I’m awed by the overwhelming artistic response to this unique project,” Poster said in a statement. “Their creation of so many thoughtful and distinct recordings, united in birdsong, is a wonder unto itself. My hope is for the project to increase awareness of threats to bird populations, and I’m honoured to support the Audubon Society’s essential work in conservation.”
Jazz artists Makaya McCraven, Arturo O’Farrill, Daniel Lanois, and a duo of Julian Lage and Bill Frisell all contributed original works. Saxophonist Kamasi Washington is featured on a piece by Carlos Niño and Nate Mercereau, while bassist Esperanza Spalding performs on a song by Shabaka Hutchings.
One of the only two non-original works is an Elliot Bergman remix of Alice Coltrane’s composition Turiya.
For the Birds: The Birdsong Project is available to preorder now.